First Wild Sumatran Rhino Spotted in Forty Years

Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered and there is estimated to be less than 100 wild Sumatran rhinos living in Indonesia. Poaching and habitat loss from logging are their greatest threats. Because of these threats, the Sumatran rhino was declared extinct in Malaysian, part of Borneo, in 2015. These animals once roamed the Malay Peninsula to the foothills of the Himalayas. Until now, a wild Sumatran rhino had not been seen in forty years. Researchers have recently made contact with a wild Sumatran rhino.

A female, aged four or five year old, was safely captured in early March and transferred to a protected nearby forest. Only indirect evidence such as stray footprints and an occasional photograph from a camera trap are about the only proof that the Sumatran rhino still existed in the wild.

“This unprecedented discovery and unparalleled operation boots our hope to save one of the most endangered specie” said Marco Lambertini, the director general of the World Wildlife Federation International.

With less than 100 Sumatran rhinos left, it has become harder for breeding to occur naturally. In addition to this, inbreeding can become a concern, reducing the genetic diversity of the species. If a female does not breed, tumors can grow and render them infertile. You may remember our story on Harry, the last male Sumatran rhino in the western Hemisphere, and his journey to Indonesia, with one goal: to breed with the other females and perpetuate his species. To restore this critically endangered population


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